A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film includes scenes showing a counselor's attempted seduction of his teenaged charge (the older man takes photos of the boy and asks him to take off his shirt). Characters use strong language (frequent use of "f--k," slang for male and female genitals), drink and smoke cigarettes (a 12-year-old girl smokes with her classmate). Flashbacks show the protagonist in sexual situations with women who are not his wife (including brief nudity). When a young girl is called a "Camel toe," the film includes an insert shots to illustrate the reference (as well as a real camel's foot, to pound home the point). The film is focused on family tensions, so many scenes show arguments and resentments. The grandfather is dying, so the film includes several scenes in the hospital. A character points an arrow at his wife's new boyfriend. Several men fight with one another, drawing blood.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
THE WEATHER MAN focuses Chicago weather man Dave Spritz (Nicolas Cage), who sees a possible job opportunity on a NYC morning show as an opportunity to reunite with his ex-wife Noreen (Hope Davis), though she has a new boyfriend, Russ (Michael Rispoli). Dave also struggles to appease his two kids who feel abandoned by their father and act out in various ways. Son Mike hopes that his counselor will provide the support and approval he seeks, but the man has other ideas (he tries to seduce Mike, awkwardly and disturbingly). Dave also can't win over his slightly overweight daughter who has turned her insecurity into a surly front. Dave's general inability to pay attention results from his relationship with his own father (Michael Caine), who disdains him and is now dying. Unable to cope, Dave continues to look for attention from others, even though his minor celebrity also brings him grief.
Is it any good?
The Weather Man is a bleak and oddly paced drama-comedy about mid-life crisis. "People recognize me sometimes," Dave observes in his mournful voiceover. "They think they know me but they don't." The film's investigation of this phenomenon doesn't extend much beyond this moment, though it does underline the abuses Dave endures because of it.
One running gag that becomes tired after the first instance has viewers tossing fast food items at him -- shakes, French fries, little pies -- apparently out of rage that he gets the forecast wrong. "It's just wind," he says more than once, by way of explaining his inaccuracy. "It blows all over the place." The movie makes this point repeatedly, casting Dave as a buffeted sort. That he finds a sense of purpose and precision in archery -- so he walks around the city with his bow and arrows -- seems a heavy-handed metaphor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the divorced father's misguided efforts to reunite with his family. How does Dave's own father's illness prompt him to reconcile with his wife and children? What might he do to pay more attention to what they need from him? How might Shelly's parents help her to deal more effectively with the kids' taunting at school?
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